Reflections – a quick look at this site

Leave a comment

Now mid-way into its sixth year, this website is (I’m happy to say) still going strong, and that is thanks to all you readers out there!

When I started this web site in January 2012, I knew what the site was going to be about – and I enjoyed the luxurious feeling of writing articles about my favourite subject, music – in my own time and tempo. Now, five and a half years later – I find it a good time to kind of sum up some of the highlights of those past five years:

  • Profiles on singers Bea Wain and Susan Maughan are the ones who have created the most responses from you out there. I have gotten so many wonderful mails from their fans and admirers!
  • My profile on Lita Ford is the one that have been read by readers in the biggest amount of countries – more than 90. I have to admit that some of those countries I knew nothing about – and had to check.
  • My profile on Diamanda Galas set the first record as “most read in the day of publishing” in September 2013, with more than 900 views on the first dat. This record stood until May 2017 when my piece about (Norwegian former festival site) Salerud Amfi broke that record by a long shot, with 4997 readers on the first day!
  • Also gaining big numbers, accumulated through the years, are my profiles on Sheena Easton, Rachel Sweet, Suzi Quatro and The Three Degrees.
  • I also find it totally awesome when singers I write about take the time to read my stuff – and give me positive feedback in return; I really treasure the mails and messages from Linda Clifford, Diamanda Galas, France Joli, Trine Rein and Bea Wain‘s daughter, Bonnie Baruch Barnes. Thanks, girls – mwah!
  • In my own country, Norway – my article about strange Norwegian disco have gained many funny responses and a lot of people have shared their memories related to those songs.

Some articles have been announced, but haven’t been published yet – they will be in due time. I hope you all will continue to follow my site, and please keep sending questions, responses and messages – they are always welcome!

 

Enjoy your summer!

Best wishes to all of you from Stian

 

 

 

 

 

Coming soon – an in-depth look at Connie Francis

Leave a comment

To me, Connie Francis is the Queen! Of all the great vocalists who appeared on the musical scene in the 1950s, she is the brightest jewel, the unparalleled leading female singer and the only female rival to both Sinatra and Elvis.

Connie has recorded more than 2500 songs, in a variety of styles and languages – she is versatile beyond compare, and absolutely everything she has done on record is vocally perfect.

 

A young Connie in the late 1950s

A young Connie in the late 1950s

 

Connie released 46 albums of music in the USA between 1958 and 1969 (and that excludes movie soundtracks and compilations!). Her first single came out 1955, her last album of new music came out 1996. Connie was one of the first female rockers, but she could just as easily sing big band swing, show tunes, Italian and Spanish themed songs, country and MOR pop. She made theme albums of Irish and Jewish favourites, two children’s records, several albums of movie songs and whole albums dedicated to composers like Burt Bacharach and Les Reed. She covered the 1978 Eurosong Winner “A Ba Ni Bi” (in 1978) and the perennial Bob Seger favourite “Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll” (in 1989).

 

Connie photograped in 1985

Connie photographed in 1985

 

Her collected discography is vast and varied to the point of schizophrenia, but what is most amazing is that she could handle anything, and did – very well! She made albums for any foreign market, but her career in Germany is worth an article all of its own; she made her first German single in 1960, the last “So Nah” (a duet with Peter Kraus) in 1992.

I have long lost count of the many hits collections of Connies music – and they all more or less contain her best known singles from 1958 until 1969. I will however, look into all her great albums, also those made in the 70s, 80s and 90s. It’s these albums that show off her many sides as a singer and they all contain great music that deserves to be heard by everybody. Her three US number ones (“Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool“, “My Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own” and “Don’t Break The Heart That Loves You“) + other well-known hits like “Who’s Sorry Now” and “Lipstick On Your Collar” are just a tiny fragment of her recorded works – so I will put the spotlight on other parts of her legacy, hopefully this will be of interest to you!

Did you know that Connie was the first singer to record “When Will The Good Apples Fall” (better known in the version recorded by The Seekers)? In 1968, Jeannie C. Riley hit big with her story song depicting life in the “Harper Valley PTA” – but did you know that Connie the same year recorded a similar themed tune called “Satan Place“? Did you know that Connie recorded a disco version of her old hit “Where The Boys Are” in the late 1970s?

Stay tuned – an in-depth look at the great Connie Francis will appear on this site in the near future!

 

Connie Francis in 2016

Connie Francis in 2016

From summer into autumn….

Leave a comment

I am very much a summer person, and living in Norway it is sometimes challenging to accept that our summer lasts only about four months. I also find that my taste in music in summer is maybe a little lighter than the rest of the year. Summer music might be old 70s disco, light pop and stuff that is just commercial, makes for a fun listening experience, and make me forget that the lyrics often are of the silly “shoo-bi-doo, la-la-la” variety. It is just something in the background, and we can all just hum along (or dance!)

Slowly easing ourselves into autumn, my taste in music veers towards stuff that might be enjoyed inside, with candles lit or maybe a fire in the fireplace. Not that it isn’t commercial or danceable, it is just that when the days get darker, my musical needs seem to change.

So you are hereby warned – my next posts will probably be mostly about music that will have some kind of autumnal touch to it….

 

 

 

 

Three unknown masterpieces from 1979….

Leave a comment

Back in 1979, disco was still popular – and a lot of great albums came out during disco’s heyday. Some by famous artists who were either true “disco stars” or albums by singers from other fields of music who just jumped on the disco wagon for a shorter time span. Then there were some great records released by singers or groups about whom nothing much is known – but that doesn’t take the focus away from the fact that their albums were great and still sound fresh and exciting today! I will give you a closer look into my three favourite albums from the glorious disco year 1979!

 

Barbara Law – “Take All Of Me”

The album "Take All Of Me" by Barbara Law

The album “Take All Of Me” by Barbara Law

I know absolutely nothing about Barbara Law, but this great record was recorded in Canada – so she might be Canadian…. Whether she has made any other records is hard to say, not much information about Miss Law to be found on the internet. But at least she made this great album! As far as I know this collection has never been released on CD, but if you search long enough, you will find a digital version (made from the original LP).

The title track is by far the best thing on offer here, seven and a half-minute of true disco heaven (even if the lyrics don’t do much for women’s liberation!) Barbara Law has a smoky, sensual voice that sounds a little strained at times – but that gives her a special edge. “On My Own Again” is the only ballad here, but it proves that she is a more than competent singer, and that makes me wonder why she didn’t record more… The other 6 songs are of the upbeat disco/pop variety, and they are all good. All in all – this album is one of (disco)musics most obscure treasures, but well worth searching out! If any of my readers can supply me with som additional information on Barbara Law, please write me!!

 

The Raes – “Dancing Up A Storm”

The Raes were indeed "Dancing Up A Storm" in 1979

The Raes were indeed “Dancing Up A Storm” in 1979

This Canada-based duo made another one of the most exciting albums of 1979 – led off by the incredibly infectious hit single “A Little Lovin’ (Keeps The Doctor Away)”. The whole album is very good, even their disco remake of Supertramps “School“. This album is another one way overdue for CD-release, and like the Barbara Law album, you can find digital versions that have been made from the original LP. As far as I have been able to find out, this was the second of three albums made by the Raes. The rest of their history, you can read HERE.

 

Mary Wilson – “Mary Wilson”

Ex-Supreme Mary Wilson, solo album from 1979

Ex-Supreme Mary Wilson, solo album from 1979

Maybe the greatest injustice in the history of music, is the fact that Mary Wilson’s great 1979 album has never been put out on CD! She started out in the Primettes in 1959, then was the only constant member of the Supremes until they disbanded in 1977. Diana Ross was always front and center of the Supremes, but on several of their many great albums, Mary Wilson gets the chance to shine as well – so this was not the first time music lovers got the hear her dark, honeyed tones, but this was the first time SHE was front and center on an album!

Not a typical disco record, this one is a little more funky and soulful than a lot of the other stuff that came out in 1979. But tracks like (her first solo single) “Red Hot“, its B-side “Midnight Dancer” and “I’ve Got What You Need” will no doubt make you dance! Through the seven great songs here, Mary Wilson proves that she is more than talented enough to be a solo star. However, record companies never seemed to be very interested, and her next two singles (“Don’t Get Mad, Get Even” and “Ooh Child“) were both recorded in England for Ian Levine’s Nightmare label… This album laid the foundation for what should have been an illustrious solo career – but during the last 25 years, Mary Wilson has recorded only sporadically, and when she did – it was for smaller labels that offered little promotion…

There! A short survey on three of my all time favourite albums! If you have anything to add to these short musings, please let me know! If you already own these records – I guess it is because you enjoy them as much as I have through the last 37 years….

 

 

 

Sister Sledge – Happy anniversary

Leave a comment

Incredibly enough, 2016 marks the 45th anniversary of Sister Sledge as recording artists! Yep, their very first single “Time will tell” came out in 1971…. Eight years on, they had their major break-through;  their album “We Are Family” and its hit singles “He´s the greatest dancer”, “Lost in music”, “Thinking of you” and the classic title track made them household names all over the globe.

From their first album, “Circle Of Love” (1976) and up to their great 1985-release, “When The Boys Meet The Girls” they enjoyed a very golden decade indeed, churning out hits and very good albums.

This post is just a small reminder – to draw your attention to the greatest sister act since the Andrews Sisters, and to ask you to re-accquaint yourself with some of their great album. Sister Sledge were SO much more than just their all time greatest hit, “We are family”.

The classic albums 1976-85

The classic albums 1976-85

The sisters smooth, sliky, soulful harmonies are just what you need during the grey, cold and dark January evenings. Music and love “given in a family dose”!

 

Another year is behind us…

Leave a comment

So, here we are again – about to enter another new year.

Hopefully you all had a very nice Christmas, and I also hope you filled 2015 with great music every day of this year!

Looking back at 2015, the saddest news this year surely was the deaths of Cilla Black, Lynn Anderson and the very recent passing of Motörheads front man, Lemmy Kilmister. They all first started in the business way back in the 60’s; Cilla was Liverpools finest female and had a long and prosperous career as a singer and television personality.

 

Cilla Black (1943-2015)

Cilla Black (1943-2015)

 

Lynn chose country music as her direction, and doing very well in that area. Her 1970 hit “Rose Garden” will forever be regarded as one of popular music’s biggest hits of all time. I certainly hope the CBS records now rummage through their files, and re-releases ALL of her albums on that label – they are all classic 70’s country at its very best, and have been out of print way too long!

 

Lynn Anderson (1947-2015)

Lynn Anderson (1947-2015)

 

Lemmy was rock ‘n’ rolls bad guy, and the most honest, brutal hard rocker ever to appear on the scene – and tributes to his life and art have been many the last week…

 

Lemmy Kilmister (1945-2015)

Lemmy Kilmister (1945-2015)

 

These three all died rather unexpected, and they were all singers I admired tremendously, as they were all very good at what they were doing in their respective fields. The passing of Lesley Gore is accounted for in a separate post on this site (check the file for February 2015 to read my tribute to her)

I was also deeply touched by the passing of actress Maureen O’ Hara (1920-2015). The veteran actress, who made her first movie in 1939 was always a pleasure to watch, and any and all of her films are worth seeing – just because she is in it!

 

Maureen O' Hara graced countless Movies from 1939... This photo was taken 2014, and proves that even at age 93, miss O' Hara was still gorgeous!

Maureen O’ Hara graced countless movies from 1939… This photo was taken 2014, and proves that even at age 93, miss O’ Hara was still gorgeous!

 

This year has also seen a lot of tributes to Frank Sinatra, on the occasion on what would have been his 100th birthday. Congratulations should also be given to his daughter Nancy Sinatra, who (believe it or not!), turned 75 this year!

Finally, I have to say that I am very happy that this website recently passed 50.000 Readers, something I had never dreamed possible when I created it in January 2012! Thanks for checking in, for reading my posts and for all those nice emails, comments and positive feedbacks!

Stay with me through 2016 also – a lot more posts and musical musings to be published in the new year!

 

 

Jaki Graham – All Boxed Up

Leave a comment

It was just a matter of time (cause we all knew it HAD to happen, right..!?) before some smart record company executive did it: All of Jaki Graham’s 7 albums recorded 1985 – 1998 in one nice box. Finally it’ s here!

 

Step right up - the Jaki box is here!

Step right up – the Jaki box is here!

 

Jaki Graham (born September 15, 1956) burst on the scene in the mid-1980’s, and immediately placed herself in the front line of British singers. Her music was the much need vitamin shot for the 80’s: Soulful, danceable, well produced and extremely well performed!

The Box includes these original albums: “Heaven Knows” (1985), “Breaking Away” (1986), “From Now On” (1989), “Real Life” (1994), “Hold On” (1995), “Rhythm Of Life” (1996) and “My Life” (1998). All of her great hits and best known songs are here, as well as a few pleasant surprises and at a total of 86 songs – this is a treasure chest!

Anyone who ever set foot on a dance floor during the 80’s and 90’s have surely done some dancing to songs like “Could it be I’m falling in love”, “Round and round”, “Mated”, “Step right up”, “The closest one”, “Set me free” and “Ain’t Nobody” (her cover of the Chaka Khan song that hit no. 1 in the US Dance Charts). Also you get a whole bunch of very nice and soulfilled ballads – of which my absolute favourite is the stunning “The better part of me” (off the 1989 album).

If you think that now I’m going to give you an overview of the different songs and albums, you’re wrong – I am hereby chasing you off to the record store (whether online or physical) to buy the box, because this one is not to be missed! And while you’re at the store, you should also get the one album that is not included in the box: Jaki’s great album of jazz and blues standards “For Sentimental Reasons” (2012). It is her last album so far, and while it stylistically is very different from the other seven albums, it does fill out the picture of what Jaki can do as a singer, and who knows – maybe a career in jazz is on the horizon. A great album, get yourself this one as well!

Her 2012 collection of jazz and blues standards must not be overlooked

Her 2012 collection of jazz and blues standards must not be overlooked

Jaki Graham is one awesome singer, and whether you wanna dance or just relax you are sure to find songs in her recorded legacy that will fit your mood at any time.

It it usually considered an honour to get your collected works all boxed up. This time around the honour is bestowed upon the great Jaki Graham – very well deserved!

 

 

Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: